Poljan, football seek first MAC win Saturday

Redshirt freshman quarterback Tony Poljan poses for a portrait on Oct. 4 at Kelly Shorts Stadium.

When the Central Michigan football team faces off against Ohio on Saturday, you can expect to see head coach John Bonamego using players in positions they are not used to.

On Saturday, backup quarterback Tony Poljan was used as a wide receiver against Boston College. The 6-foot-7 redshirt freshman caught three passes for 61 yards, and rushed for 20 yards on four attempts while taking snaps at quarterback. 

“That was the second time in my life I have lined up at receiver,” Poljan said. “It was in the gameplan and I practiced it a little bit, but it is totally different from practicing and being on the field.”

Poljan said he used his size to gain the advantage over the defense. He nearly caught for a two-point conversion, but he did not gain full possession on the ball to complete the catch against Boston College. 

Bonamego said Poljan was too good of an athlete to “make signals on the sidelines.” Before the season started, Bonamego said that he was going to attempt to include Poljan in the offense in any way he sees possible.

The Chippewas face the Ohio Bobcats at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7 in Peden Stadium in Athens, Ohio. The game is available on ESPN3.

Last season, CMU topped Ohio in Kelly/Shorts Stadium, 27-20. Bonamego said the win doesn’t carry much weight because there is a new team every season. 

“What has happened in the past has no bearing on what is happening now,” he said. “Every team is different. If you change one person, you change the dynamic on how that group functions and works together.” 

In the past two games, the CMU offense struggled to score in the first quarter and allowed their opponents take an early lead. 

“We look at everything including play selection,” Bonamego said. “Nobody plans to start slow. Against Miami (Ohio) we took a shot downfield with a flea flicker and we might have forced that a little bit. It is something that I challenge the coordinators to address with the team.”

Ohio holds a 4-1 record and sits first in the Mid-American Conference East Division. The Bobcats are coming off a win against UMass where it scored 58 points on offense. 

CMU travels to Athens, Ohio for the Bobcats’ homecoming game. In the nonconference schedule, Ohio beat Hampton, Kansas and Massachusetts, but lost to Purdue.